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Perfect buying experience .. again at Apple Store

I may have mentioned this before, but its just so smooth and efficient, its worth repeating. I was on my way to an event and wanted to pick up a leather case for my new iPhone. So I stopped by the Apple Store, and this was the process:

  1. Walked to back of store and picked up case from the wall display
  2. Opened Apple Store app,and scanned bar code
  3. Entered password and Credit Card CVC code
  4. Walked out with my new case

Elapsed time, less than a minute. I believe walking the length of the store was the longest part.

IMG 0005

Written by Colin Henderson

November 5, 2014 at 17:39

Posted in Uncategorized

Retail experience – Nespresso does an Apple

Today I was under instructions to purchase a new coffee machine. My dear wife was away for a few days and comes back this weekend. She noted there is a new Nespresso store on Yorkville so, innocently, off I went.

Not sure what I was expecting but probably something close to a small Starbucks. Was I surprised.

This location used to be a movie theatre and first off is cavernous. At the door I was greeted by a young lady who asked if I was going to the boutique or the bar and could she book me a seat. Bear in mind I came to buy a coffee maker. Wasn’t sure how to answer that one.


Half an hour and an excellent cup of coffee later, I was fully up to date on latest model, which coffee to buy and headed off fully impressed. What was that?

I felt I’d just been Apple’d and wasn’t expecting that:





  • product selection which I’d understood from their website was simple clear and not complicated by options and that was the case
  • only option is colour (sound familiar)
  • all very high tech. No reference to bar codes. The machine knows by the coffee you insert whether it’s express, cappuccino, regular etc. Place coffee in and press go
  • the well dressed people working there never tried to sell me. Just asked questions and offered me coffee etc.
  • before leaving I sat at the bar to finish off my coffee and looked around. The Yorkvilletti were out in force and turns out they do lunch here too
  • and all this is taking place in an environment that is befitting Yorkville and no doubt 5th Avenue and Ginza.

This was all about experience. The experience is designed to be compelling, supported by technology that is beautiful and just works. It’s a great combination of product, experience and function. And at the end of the day you get a decent coffee maker that’s on a similar price range to an upper end Cuisinart or the likes.

This is experience marketing and a company that has definitely learned from the Apple playbook.


Relevance to Bankwatch:

I hate to pick on my old alma mater bank that just redesigned in First Canadian Place. They’ve moved the desks around and have given the staff iPads. I know it’s not finished yet and eventually from the pictures will have large screen tv’s everywhere. But I’m not getting a sense of ‘experience’ banking. I’m getting a sense of trying to be cool. Carrying an iPad is not cool. Accessing, creating, and reading faster and more efficiently than anyone else, with no fuss from anywhere is cool, just as I am able to write this post on my iPhone.

I hear the argument that branches remain essential, just less of them. Some suggest a reduction from 1 per 10/20k population to 1 per 250k population.

I still ask why and what? We know we shouldn’t require transaction type branches but it’s too simplistic an argument to suggest the new type should be sales centres. Sounds like force feeding.

I bought my coffee maker today but I wasn’t being sold.

Written by Colin Henderson

May 17, 2014 at 16:29

Posted in Uncategorized

Is this the end of multi channel experience?

I think it is exactly 10 years since the term multi channel customer centric strategy became de rigeur.  It was really a compromise that did not want to admit the eventual demise of the branch.  The compromise was to provide ‘equal’ experience and service level in the branch to that of online.  This was horrendously expensive and that reality is now hit home.

Multi-channel banking strategies are failing to convince – TowerGroup | Finextra

Says TowerGroup: "The branch isn’t dead, but the profitability of the network, as well as individual branch footprints, need to be reevaluated."

Written by Colin Henderson

September 15, 2013 at 23:54

Posted in Uncategorized

Turning Banking on its Head | a truly rewarding banking experience


“I keep having to replace worn-out mallets,” he said. “The bankers are bald and all look the same because that’s how I think people see bankers, as faceless.”

Written by Colin Henderson

December 14, 2009 at 19:14

Posted in Uncategorized

Bring the banking experience forward to the transactional experience

There is an enormous intelligence in this paragraph from Dave. It centres on the reality that with each transaction, a consumer is making a decision about their banking service. That service may be merely a payment card, or it may be a BarclaysBofALloyds Card. it doesn’t matter.

What has really happened is that the product experience has transferred from the old view of product, the bank account, to the new view, which is the experience. The experience occurs at the ATM, the POS terminal, the online banking session, the iphone app (oops you haven’t got that!). The customer experience is in the use of the account, not in the interest rate. That rate stuff is relegated to another mind space that is related to return and investment quality. That other mind space is critical, but not at the point of transactional experience.

United we fall | Digital Money Forum

Retailers don’t want to stop taking cards and go back to cash, but neither would they expect the product to be provided for free. So what is the real dynamic? Many people might sympathise with the retailers’ central complaint, that interchange has not evolved to reflect the modern retail payment environment, while being sceptical that a regulatory transfer of resources from one group (banks) to another group (retailers) will result in any benefit to the consumer. But there is a dynamic, so we cannot be static in response. We as an industry (by which I mean the electronic payments industry) need to demonstrate to retailers that our products are worth paying for. As I’m learning from the Innovation in Payments work over at the CSFI, if we restrict the value proposition to the payment transaction, this is difficult. It’s the value-added services around the payment transaction that create our future proposition.

This is essential stuff to consider in building new services. The traditional view of biulding a bank account goes like this:

  • how many free ATM transactions
  • how many free debit transactions
  • at which balance will interest kick in

These assumptions are negative in nature in a consumers view. How about a value proposition that says ..

  • monthly fee = $ XX
  • ATM – free
  • debit – free
  • interest – zero
  • savings account – no debit and high rates

Relevance to Bankwatch:
Of course I am simlifying here, but the point is to address the features of the account towards the requirements of the customer. Customers want simplicity, and understandabilty [I know that is not a word]. Take a look at any telco site and do the opposite. Allow customers to understand on the first page, what they are going to get.

Written by Colin Henderson

July 29, 2009 at 16:16

Posted in Payments

Tagged with , ,

HSBC press on with customer experience re-engineering and cost containment

In a novel move, HSBC combines the CIO and COO position. Certainly their motivation is appropriate, and their direction makes sense. One system, centralised around the customer experience.

HSBC names Harvey chief technology and services officer

“By combining our technology and worldwide operations more closely we can re-engineer customers’ experience of HSBC and at the same time drive down the unit cost of production,” says Geoghegan.

Harvey will continue to lead the bank’s One HSBC initiative which will see the migration of the bank’s global operations onto a single technology platform. HSBC has said that the programme aims to “re-engineer the company so that wherever possible we use global systems” in a bid to drive down costs and improve customer service.

Written by Colin Henderson

October 5, 2008 at 20:37

Posted in Uncategorized

Retailers have improved the online shopping experience as far as they can

Once in a while Doc Searls comes up with a classic statement, and this is one of those [emphasis mine]. 

The buyer’s envelope, please

In the meantime, consider this thesis: Amazon and other excellent online retailers have improved the online shopping experience as far as a retailer can. Yes, there is always room for improvement, but there is only so much improvement you can carry out only on the sell side, even if you’re equipping buyers to do a better and better job. At a certain point the improvements need to happen on the buy side. You need better buyers, not just better sellers. You need to improve the tools available to buyers — tools that help buyers with all sellers, and not just within each seller’s walled garden or silo.

Therefore… At a certain point the problem is no longer scale but scope.

This is the argument for Vendor Relationship Management

Written by Colin Henderson

September 11, 2008 at 00:02

Value added services to enhance the customer experience

Here is a brilliant, yet simple additional service provided by Tesco Finance.

Finextra: Tesco launches online used car checker

The online checker helps motorists to check if a car:

  • has finance outstanding on it
  • is registered as an insurance write-off
  • is recorded as stolen on the Police National Computer
  • has been clocked

Written by Colin Henderson

July 19, 2007 at 13:04

Posted in Banking Strategy

Turning Customer Experience Into A Competitive Weapon

Peter Kim from Forrester provides more detail on the Customer Experience keynote.

Forrester Marketing blog


Written by Colin Henderson

June 25, 2007 at 13:14

Lack of a clear customer experience strategy forms largest obstacle!

Forrester Forum: Its always good news when your biggest problem is the easiest to fix … or at least you would think so. Forrester just released a new survey in conjunction with American Banker. Bank executives were asked, what are the significant obstacles to improving the customer experience that your company delivers.

47-52% reported that “lack of a clear customer experience strategy” was a significant obstacle, and that percentage made it the most pervasive obstacle. Its not good when you can’t even describe the strategy to yourself.

Technorati tags: , ,

Written by Colin Henderson

June 25, 2007 at 13:03

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